A word to the wise partygoer: if you’re standing in front of The Abbey at quarter to two in the morning with your phone out, waiting for an Uber home, you do not have a strong hand to play. It’s a tough get on an average Saturday night. On New Years Eve? Well, as they back East, fughetaboutit…
The delicate mechanics of rider and car finding each other at the corner of Santa Monica and Robertson can be challenging. This is where, at a certain point the evening, the normal order of cars-on-the-street, pedestrians-on-the-sidewalk gives to way to a state of nature. All pretense of traffic signals, loading zones, crosswalks and waiting ones turn is in the wind.
The conversation runs something like: “We’re across the street from the fire truck. See us?”
Beyond the sea of faces jaywalking past my windshield, in the middle distance, I can make out the blinking orange lights of a fire truck. Anything beyond that might as well be in Orange County.
“Just pull in behind the fire truck. We’ll find you.”
“I’m not turning onto Robertson. We’ll never get out of there. Meet me at the corner.”
The Corner: Dozens of cell phones twinkling, each surrounded by a cluster of hopeful riders. Some are utilizing the flashlight function, as though waving a bright light into the windshield of an approaching Uber will expedite matters. It doesn’t.
No sooner do I pull to the curb than the door is yanked open and a theatrical couple take possession of the back seat.
“Oh thank God you’re here. We’ve been waiting for-ever.”
I ask for the name on the account. Of course it doesn’t correspond to my rider. Regrettably, I’m here for someone else, I explain.
“But we’ve been waiting so loooong…”
After several long minutes in front of Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant, fending off pirate boarders, the correct riders find me.
Four people, one passed out drunk next to me in the shotgun seat, another passed out in the back. Lucky Couple Number Two
rounding third base necking, all the way home. I didn’t mind. Getting people safely where they want to be in whatever state they are in at the moment, is at the core of Uber service.
When we reached Calabasas it was 31 degrees. Nobody could find the keys to the house. Make Out Girl was hopping about in bare feet, holding her heels in one hand, and patting down pockets of her slumbering friends. Eventually the keys were located and Make Out Guy fireman-carried the slumberers across the threshold. My evening was done.
Three hundred and twenty bucks. That’s one hell of a hangover.